soccernet blog
Manchester United
March 27, 2012
Posted by Mark Payne on 03/27/2012

In my younger and more vulnerable years a football coach gave me some simple but very effective advice. “Just hit it towards the goal Mark.” It was a philosophy that has carried me through my life of running across football pitches, and indeed watching games too. On many, many occasions, I have found myself watching a TV screen and shouting the words; “Just shoot!!” I could never be an Arsenal fan.

March 20, 2012
Posted by Mark Payne on 03/20/2012

The title race has shifted in United’s favour by a significant degree but I take little pleasure in the weekend’s football this week. Wolves are a beleaguered side and their manager, Terry Connor, seems to be a decent man trying vainly to solve problems that are not of his own making. What’s more, the upsetting collapse of the Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba has brought the things that really matter into sharp focus.

March 12, 2012
Posted by Mark Payne on 03/12/2012

Football is not a science. There are very few hard and fast rules against which we can make certain judgements. The rules we do have - offside, penalties, handballs - are contested every week by people who disagree. Given this climate it seems amazing there are so many people who are willing to make predictions and give judgements on the game. This week though, most of them did agree. Advantage Manchester United.

March 6, 2012
Posted by Mark Payne on 03/06/2012

There is a great episode of Irish comedy show Father Ted in which Father Ted Crilly is the coach of the ‘over 75s all priests 5-a-side’ football team. His role as coach, in that episode, is heavily inspired by Sir Alex Ferguson, even down to the coat he wears, and it was my great fortune to rewatch that edition shortly after the Spurs match. I noticed some eerie similarities with this year’s United line up.